Unformatted text preview: U nderstanding M usic
Past and Present N. Alan Clark, PhD Thomas Heflin, PhD Jeffrey Kluball, PhD Elizabeth Kramer, PhD U nderstanding M usic
Past and Present
N. Alan Clark, PhD Thomas Heflin, PhD Jeffrey Kluball, PhD Dahlonega, GA Elizabeth Kramer, PhD Understanding Music: Past and Present is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
This license allows you to remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as
long as you credit this original source for the creation and license the new creation under
If you reuse this content elsewhere, in order to comply with the attribution requirements of
the license please attribute the original source to the University System of Georgia.
NOTE: The above copyright license which University System of Georgia uses for their
original content does not extend to or include content which was accessed and incorporated, and which is licensed under various other CC Licenses, such as ND licenses. Nor
does it extend to or include any Special Permissions which were granted to us by the
rightsholders for our use of their content.
Image Disclaimer: All images and figures in this book are believed to be (after a reasonable investigation) either public domain or carry a compatible Creative Commons
license. If you are the copyright owner of images in this book and you have not authorized
the use of your work under these terms, please contact the University of North Georgia
Press at [email protected] to have the content removed.
University System of Georgia
University of North Georgia Press
Cover Design and Layout Design:
For more information, please visit
Or email [email protected]
If you need this document in an alternate format for accessibility purposes (e.g. Braille,
large print, audio, etc.), please contact Corey Parson at [email protected] or
706-864-1556. TABLE OF C ONTENT S Music Fundamentals 1 N. Alan Clark, Thomas Heflin, Elizabeth Kramer Music of the Middle Ages 34 Elizabeth Kramer Music of the Renaissance 52 Jeff Kluball Music of the Baroque Period 73 Jeff Kluball and Elizabeth Kramer Music of the Classical Period 115 Jeff Kluball and Elizabeth Kramer Nineteenth-Century Music and Romanticism 159 Jeff Kluball and Elizabeth Kramer The Twentieth Century and Beyond 224 N. Alan Clark and Thomas Heflin Popular Music in the United States 254 N. Alan Clark and Thomas Heflin Appendix 288 Glossary 297 About the Authors 309 1 Music Fundamentals
N. Alan Clark, Thomas Heflin, Elizabeth Kramer 1.1 OBJECTIVES
1. Recognize a wide variety of sounds, comparing and contrasting them
using musical elements of pitch, volume, articulation, and timbre.
2. Aurally identify important performing forces (use of the voice and
instruments) of Western music.
3. Define basic elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and texture and
build a vocabulary for discussing them.
4. Identify basic principles and types of musical form.
5. Listen to music and describe its musical elements and form.
6. Compare and contrast categories of art music, folk music, and pop music.
7. Identify ways in which humans have used music for social and expressive
purposes. 1.2 KEY TERMS AND INDIVIDUALS
• Accidentals • Composition • Acoustics • Conjunct • Acoustical Engineer • Consonant • Acoustician • Cycles per Second (cps) • Amplitude • Disjunct • Beat • Dissonant • Brass • Dynamics • Chord • Equalization • Chord Progression • Form • Chromatic • Frequency
Page | 1 UNDERSTANDING MUSIC MUSIC FUNDAMENTALS • Fundamental Pitch • Polyphony • Guido of Arezzo • Polyrhythm • Improvisation • Range • Instrumentation • Register • Interval • Rhythm • Harmony • Scale • Hertz (Hz) • Sequence • Homophonic • Seventh Chord • Key • Sine Wave • Keyboard • Sound • Measure • Sound Waves • Melody • Step • Meter • Strings • Monophonic • Syncopation • Motive • Synthesizers • Music • Tempo • Noise • Texture • Octave • Timbre • Overtones • Time Signature • Partials • Tonic • Percussion • Triad • Performing Forces • Twelve‐Bar Blues • Phrase • Vocal • Pitch • Woodwinds 1.3 WHAT IS MUSIC?
Music moves through time; it is not static. In order to appreciate music we
must remember what sounds happened, and anticipate what sounds might come
next. Most of us would agree that not all sounds are music! Examples of sounds
not typically thought of as music include noises such as alarm sirens, dogs barking,
coughing, the rumble of heating and cooling systems, and the like. But, why? One
might say that these noises lack many of the qualities that we typically associate
We can define music as the intentional organization of sounds in time by and
for human beings. Though not the only way to define music, this definition uses
several concepts important to understandings of music around the world. “Sounds
in time” is the most essential aspect of the definition. Music is distinguished from
Page | 2 UNDERSTANDING MUSIC MUSIC FUNDAMENTALS many of the other arts by its temporal quality; its sounds unfold over and through
time, rather than being glimpsed in a moment, so to speak. They are also perceptions
of the ear rather than the eye and thus difficult to ignore; as one can do by closing his
or her eyes to avoid seeing something. It is more difficult for us to close our ears.
Sound moves through time in waves. A sound wave is generated when an object vibrates within some medium like air or water. When the wave is received by our ears
it triggers an effect known as sound, as can be seen in the following diagram: Figure 1.1 | Movement of a sound wave As humans, we also tend to be interested Author | Corey Parson
in music that has a plan, in other words, music Source | Original Work
that has intentional organization. Most of us License | CC BY-SA 4.0
would not associate coughing or sneezing or unintentionally resting our hand on
a keyboard as the creation of music. Although we may never know exactly what
any songwriter or composer meant by a song, most people think that the sounds of
music must show at least a degree of intentional foresight.
A final aspect of the definition is its focus on humanity. Bird calls may sound
like music to us; generally the barking of dogs and hum of a heating unit do not.
In each of these cases, though, the sounds are produced by animals or inanimate
objects, rather than by human beings; therefore the focus of this text will only be on
sounds produced by humans. 1.3.1 Acoustics
Acoustics is essentially “the science of sound.” It investigates how sound is
produced and behaves, elements that are essential for the correct design of music
rehearsal spaces and performance venues. Acoustics is also essential for the design
and manufacture of musical instruments. The word itself derives from the Greek
word acoustikos which means “of hearing.” People who work in the field of acoustics generally fall into one of two groups: Acousticians, those who study the theory and science of acoustics, and acoustical engineers, those who work in the
area of acoustic technology. This technology ranges from the design of rooms, such
as classrooms, theatres, arenas, and stadiums, to devices such as microphones,
speakers, and sound generating synthesizers, to the design of musical instruments
like strings, keyboards, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. 1.3.2 Sound and Sound Waves
As early as the sixth century BCE (500 years before the birth of Christ), Pythagoras reasoned that strings of different lengths could create harmonious (pleasant)
sounds (or tones) when played together if their lengths were related by certain
ratios. Concurrent sounds in ratios of two to three, three to four, four to five, etc. Page | 3 UNDERSTANDING MUSIC MUSIC FUNDAMENTALS are said to be harmonious. Those not related by harmonious ratios are generally
referred to as noise. About 200 years after Pythagoras, Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
described how sound moves through the air—like the ripples that occur when we
drop a pebble in a pool of water—in what we now call waves. Sound is basically
the mechanical movement of an audible pressure wave through a solid, liquid, or
gas. In physiology and psychology, sound is further defined as the recognition of
the vibration caused by that movement. Sound waves are the rapid movements
back and forth of a vibrating medium—the gas, water, or solid—that has been made
to vibrate. 1.3.3 Properties of Sound: Pitch
Another element that we tend to look for in music is what we call “definite
pitch.” A definite pitch is a tone that is composed of an organized sound wave. A
note of definite pitch is one in which the listener can easily discern the pitch. For
instance, notes produced by a trumpet or piano are of definite pitch. An indefinite
pitch is one that consists of a less organized wave and tends to be perceived by the
listener as noise. Examples are notes produced by percussion instruments such as
a snare drum.
Numerous types of music have a
combination of definite pitches, such as
those produced by keyboard and wind
instruments, and indefinite pitches, such
as those produced by percussion instruments. That said, most tunes, are composed of definite pitches, and, as we will
see, melody is a key aspect of what most
people hear as music.
The sound waves of definite pitches
may come in many frequencies.
Figure 1.2 | Two sound waves, the first an
Frequency refers to the repetitions
indefinite pitch and the second a definite pitch.
of a wave pattern over time and is norAuthor | Corey Parson
Source | Original Work
mally measured in Hertz or cycles per
License | CC BY-SA 4.0
second (cps). Humans normally detect
types of sound called musical
tones when the vibrations range
from about twenty vibrations
per second (anything slower
sounds like a bunch of clicks)
to about 20,000 vibrations
per second (anything faster is
Figure 1.3 | Sine waves of varying frequencies
too high for humans to hear.)
Author | Corey Parson
Watch the first five minutes of
Source | Original Work
License | CC BY-SA 4.0
this excellent explanation of
Page | 4 UNDERSTANDING MUSIC MUSIC FUNDAMENTALS how different types of sounds result from the combination of the partials above
the basic tone. In actuality, all sounds result from different variations of this process, as it naturally occurs in our environment.
Ex. 1.1: The Audio Kitchen; Sawtooth and Square Waves (2012)
In the Western world, musicians generally refer to definite pitches by the “musical alphabet.” The musical alphabet consists of the letters A-G, repeated over and
over again (…ABCDEFGABCDEFGABCDEFG…), as can be seen from this illustration of the notes on a keyboard. These
notes correspond to a particular frequen- SIDEBAR: How Waves Behave
cy of the sound wave. A pitch with a Reflection – sound waves reflect off of hard
sound wave that vibrates 440 times each surfaces
second, for example, is what most musiAbsorption – sound waves are absorbed by
cians would hear as an A above middle C.
(Middle C simply refers to the note C that
is located in the middle of the piano key- Amplitude – refers to how high a wave apboard.) As you can see, each white key on pears on an oscilloscope; i.e., how much enthe keyboard is assigned a particular ergy it has and therefore how loud it is
note, each of which is named after the let- Frequency – refers to how many times a
ters A through G. Halfway between these wave vibrates each second. This vibrating
notes are black keys, which sound the speed is measured using cycles per second
sharp and flat notes used in Western mu- (cps) or the more modern Hertz (Hz)
sic. This pattern is repeated up and down
the entire keyboard. Figure 1.4 | The keyboard and the musical alphabet.
Author | Corey Parson
Source | Original Work
License | CC BY-SA 4.0 Page | 5 UNDERSTANDING MUSIC MUSIC FUNDAMENTALS When a sound wave is generated, it often generates other waves or ripple effects, depending on the medium through which it travels. When a string of a certain length is set into motion, for example, its waves may also set other strings of
varying lengths into motion.
The vibration with the lowest frequency is called the fundamental pitch. The additional definite pitches that are
produced are called overtones,
because they are heard above
or “over” the fundamental pitch
(tone). Our musical alphabet
consists of seven letters repeated over and over again in correspondence with these overtones.
Please see Figure 1.6 for the partials for the fundamental pitch C:
To return to the musical alphabet: the first partial of the
Figure 1.5 | Overtones of a vibrating string
overtone series is the loudest and Author | User “Qef”
clearest overtone heard “over” Source | Wikimedia Commons
the fundamental pitch. In fact, License | Public Domain
the sound wave of the first overtone partial is vibrating exactly twice as fast as its fundamental tone. Because of this, the two tones sound similar, even though the first
overtone partial is clearly higher in pitch than the fundamental pitch. If you follow the
overtone series, from one partial to the next, eventually you will see that all the other
pitches on the keyboard might be generated from the fundamental pitch and then displaced by octaves to arrive at pitches that move by step (refer to Figure 1.6). Figure 1.6 | Partials of C
Author | User “MusicMaker5376”
Source | Wikimedia Commons
License | CC BY-SA 3.0 Watch these two videos for an excellent explanation of the harmonic series
from none other than Leonard Bernstein himself, famous conductor of the New
York Philharmonic and composer of the music of West Side Story.
Ex. 1.2: The Harmonic Series
Page | 6 UNDERSTANDING MUSIC MUSIC FUNDAMENTALS The distance between any two of these notes is called an interval. On the piano, the distance between two of the longer, white key pitches is that of a step.
The longer, white key pitches that are not adjacent are called leaps. The interval
between C and D is that of a second, C and E that of a third, the interval between
C and F that of a fourth, the interval between C and G that of a fifth, the interval
of C to A is a sixth, the interval of C to B is a seventh, and the special relationship
between C and C is called an octave. 1.3.4 Other Properties of Sound: Dynamics, Articulation,
and Timbre The volume of a sound is its dynamic; it corresponds with the amplitude
of the sound wave. The articulation of a sound refers to how it begins and ends,
for example, abruptly, smoothly, gradually, etc. The timbre of a sound is what
we mean when we talk about tone color or tone quality. Because sound is somewhat abstract, we tend to describe it with adjectives typically used for tactile objects, such as “gravelly” or “smooth,” or adjectives for visual descriptions, such as
“bright” or “metallic.” It is particularly affected by the ambience of the performing
space, that is, by how much echo occurs and where the sound comes from. Timbre
is also shaped by the equalization (EQ), or balance, of the fundamental pitch
and its overtones.
The video below is a great example of two singers whose voices have vastly
different timbres. How would you describe Louis Armstrong’s voice? Perhaps you
would call it “rough or “gravelly.” How would you describe Ella Fitzgerald’s voice?
Perhaps it could be called “smooth” or “silky.”
Ex. 1.3: Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald 1.4 MUSIC NOTATION
The development of music notation was absolutely critical to the rise of music that used more than just one melody. Everything that has developed in Western music after 1040 CE—from music of many independent voices (polyphonic),
to solo voices with keyboard or group accompaniments, to the popular music we
enjoy today—grew from this development. Though modern scholars have found
examples of written musical symbols as far back as 900 CE, the staff notation system developed by Guido of Arezzo and others who followed him allowed for
the accurate preservation and distribution of music. Music notation also greatly
contributed to the growth, development, and evolution of the many musical styles
over the past one thousand years.
Because of his contributions to the development of music notation, Guido of
Arezzo is arguably the most important figure in the development of written music
in the Western world. He developed a system of lines and spaces that enabled muPage | 7 UNDERSTANDING MUSIC MUSIC FUNDAMENTALS sicians to notate the specific notes in a melody. The development of music notation
made it possible for composers to notate their music accurately, allowing others to
perform the music exactly the way each composer intended. This ability allowed
polyphonic (many voiced) music to evolve rapidly after 1040 CE. The video linked
below is an excellent resource that explains Guido’s contributions in more detail.
Ex. 1.4: Guido of Arezzo
The popularity of staff notation after Guido paved the way for the development
of a method to notate rhythm. The system of rhythmic notation we use today in
Western music has evolved over many years and is explained in the following link.
Ex. 1.5: Rhythmic Notation by Andrew Poushka (2003)
The following prepared college marching band arrangement is adapted from
DJ Khaled’s popular tune “All I Do is Win,” which shows an example of how staff
notation is used today. Figure 1.7 | “All I Do Is Win”
Author | N. Alan Clark
Source | Original Work
License | CC BY-SA 4.0 1.5 PERFORMING FORCES FOR MUSIC
Music consists of the intentional organization of sounds by and for human beings. In the broadest classification, these sounds are produced by people in three
ways: (1) through the human voice, the instrument with which most of us are born,
(2) by using musical instruments, or (3) by using electronic and digital equipment
to generate purely electronic sounds. Page | 8 UNDERSTANDING MUSIC MUSIC FUNDAMENTALS 1.5.1 The Human Voice as a Performing Force
The human voice is the most intimate of all the music instruments in that it is
the one that most of us are innately equipped. We breathe in, and, as we exhale, air
rushes over the vocal chords causing them to vibrate. Depending on the length of
the vocal chords, they will tend to vibrate more slowly or more quickly, creating
pitches of lower or higher frequencies. The muscles in the larynx contract, causing
the vocal chords to close, and air pressure forces them open. This closing and
opening can happen hundreds of times a second. To reach a higher pitch vocal
chords vibrate more rapidly.
Changing the shape of your vocal
cavity allows for different timbres and
vowel sounds. Changing the position
of the mouth and lips allows for further variety in sound and for the production of consonants. Because men
tend to have thicker and longer vocal
chords, they tend to have lower voices than women, whose vocal chords
tend to be shorter and slimmer.
The natural speaking voice exhibits some variation in pitch. One’s
voice often rises at the end of a question. When you have a cold and the
vocal chords are swollen, you often Figure 1.8 | Position of the larynx for various
speak in lower pitches than normal. Author | User “Badseed”
Singing generally differs from speak- Source | Wikimedia Commons
ing in that it uses a wider range of License | CC BY-SA 4.0
definite pitches that often occur in a regular meter (discussed later). By range, we
mean the number of pitches, expressed as an intervallic distance. A trained opera
singer might have a range of three to four octaves, whereas the average person has
a range of a little over an octave.
Additionally, as we speak we generally focus on consonants, which articulate
the beginnings and ends of syllables and help make our meaning plain. In singing,
performers often focus on the vowels, as vowels tend to carry better than consonants. Also, the meaning of the words is sometimes deemed less significant than
the melodies themselves.
In Western music, voice ranges are typically split into...
View Full Document
- Fall '19
- Musical notation, Chord, Corey Parson, Thomas Heflin